06/18/2010 11:00PM

Gozzip Girl returns in New York Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Gozzip Girl won four stakes in 2009, including the American Oaks at the same distance as the New York Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. - After watching her lose two Grade 1 stakes as the odds-on choice to end her 3-year-old season, bettors may be leery of jumping on the Gozzip Girl bandwagon when she makes her return off an eight-month layoff in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 New York Stakes at Belmont Park.

To listen to Tom Albertrani, the trainer of Gozzip Girl, that might be a mistake.

"This is the best I've ever seen her look going into a race," Albertrani said. "She's got good weight on her; last year I had a hard time trying to keep some weight on her. Right now, she's never looked better."

On her game, Gozzip Girl looms the one to beat in a New York field that includes graded stakes winners Lady Shakespeare and Changing Skies as well as Nehantic Kat, Daveron, Ave, and Sweet and Flawless.

Gozzip Girl, owned by Farnsworth Stables, won four stakes in 2009, including the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park at 1 1/4 miles, the distance of the New York. In the fall, Gozzip Girl finished fourth at 2-5 in the Grade 1 Garden City, a race in which she clipped heels and nearly fell early on. In October, Gozzip Girl finished third as the 3-5 favorite in the Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland. After the race, she tested positive for the banned substance acepromazine, a tranquilizer. Though he served a 30-day suspension, Albertrani maintains he did not give the filly that medication and wasn't sure how it got in her system.

Gozzip Girl wintered in Florida, and Albertrani was hoping to make the Sheepshead Bay here May 30 her first race. But Albertrani felt Gozzip Girl needed a few more works and got two strong five-furlong moves in her. On June 11, Gozzip Girl worked five furlongs in 1:02.90 and galloped out a mile in 1:43.59.

"She's fit and ready to go at the moment," Albertrani said.

With a lack of pace in the race, it wouldn't be surprising if Gozzip Girl took control of the race early from post 7 under Ramon Dominguez. Gozzip Girl won the Grade 2 Sands Point here last year on the front end.

A lack of pace concerns Christophe Clement, the trainer of Daveron, a German-bred who won a second-level allowance race here by four lengths on May 14. A bit rank early, Daveron eventually settled before making a strong three-eighths of a mile run that carried her to victory. Rajiv Maragh rides from post 5.

"She was rank and difficult going a mile and a sixteenth," Clement said. "I hope Rajiv can get here to settle. If he can get her to settle, I'm confident she'll run a very good race."

Lady Shakespeare, Changing Skies, and Sweet and Flawless finished 1-2-3 in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland and are back in this field. Ave, a stablemate of Lady Shakespeare, comes off a good third in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico after a slow start. Nehantic Kat finished second to Changing Skies in the Grade 2 The Very One at Gulfstream in February.

The New York goes as race 9 on a 10-race program and is the third leg of a pick-four wager with a guaranteed pool of $300,000.